It seemed like a good idea in the meeting ...
53. Dusty Springfield
A Brand New Me / Atlantic, 1970
Marrying Springfield's gorgeous pop vocals to the Gamble and Huff sound may sound like a no-brainer in retrospect, but at the time it was a revolutionary fusion. From the opening salvo of "Lost," Springfield sounds energized, delivering pitch-perfect blue-eyed soul that never quite escapes the sadness that permeates her best performances. A Brand New Me simultaneously updated Springfield's sound and let Dusty be Dusty at her most soulful, understated best. Remember when singers used to simply deliver their lyrics without rolling every vowel sound? This disc could still serve as a primer for would-be divas, from Christina to Beyonc� and back again.
54. Tammi Terrell
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: Greatest Hits / Motown, 1971
Philly girl Tammi Terrell was never one of the better known Motown names, but she did wonders for Marvin Gaye's career. She teamed up with Gaye on "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "You're All I Need to Get By" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" among others, and the pair's teasing affection for each other had the records jumping off the charts. Sadly, Terrell died of a brain tumor at 24 amid rumors that she'd been abused by a number of male soul singers--James Brown and David Ruffin, among them. She also made a number of solo recordings, but these with Marvin Gaye are the ones that will stand.
55. Schoolly D
Schoolly D / Jive, 1986
A gangsta-rap pioneer, Jesse B. Weaver Jr. enraged city officials with his explicit lyrics about living in inner-city Philadelphia. Though the shock of the new wore off with subsequent albums--and he acquired a degree of mainstream acceptance when he appeared on the soundtracks of Abel Ferrara movies--this debut was both funny and violent. It includes "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?", an introduction to a young man looking for cash and having sex with a woman who turns out to be a prostitute; "Put Your Filas On," which doesn't stray far from the cash-ho-bragging-rights formula; and "Gucci Time," which focused on criminality and was later sampled by the Beastie Boys. Whether you appreciate Schoolly's gangsta profile, there's no question that persona was hugely influential on the West Coast--and it all started with this album.
56. Kenn Kweder
Kwederology Volumes I and II / Pandemonium, 2002
Almost 30 years in the making, this three-disc set spans the prodigious career of Philly's old original scenester, the legendary Kenn Kweder. The set features classic Kweder album cuts--everything from "The Old Tan Datsun," "Heroin" and "Jack Kerouac" to "Turning Myself In," "Girl With the Dylan Flowers" and "The Ballad of Manute Bol"--plus rare live recordings, studio outtakes, bar fights and phone conversations. No Philadelphian should be without this collection.
Kids in Philly / Artemis, 2000
Between their promising debut Let's Cut the Crap and Hook up Later on Tonight and the polished turd that was Float Away With the Friday Night Gods, brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko damn near struck gold with this superb case study of life on the streets in the City of Brotherly Love. Standout moments include a song intro by Hy Lit, a shout-out to the late Frank "Smockey" LaMassa and some blistering guitar on "The Catfisherman."
Calendar: December 17-24
Calendar: Dec. 10-17
PW's Holiday Guide 2014